bread crumbs

On Breadcrumbs & Croutons

Molly Wizenberg, who many of you know as Orangette, has cooked for me three times over the course of our friendship. All three meals have been documented here on the blog: the first meal was in January of 2007, the next was a New Year’s Eve dinner (actually I can’t find the post about that) and then, finally, the meal that Molly’s husband Brandon made for me when I was stranded in Seattle during a blizzard. So actually she didn’t cook that third meal.

But the point is that I was karmically indebted to her and desperately keen to make her food upon her next visit to New York. Lo and behold she was here last night! And last night, guess what? I made her dinner. A carbilicious feast that put to use two underused culinary tools, the two items you see above: homemade breadcrumbs & croutons.

Spaghetti with Ramps (A Recipe)

A few weeks ago, I told you about the spaghetti with ramps I ate at Franny’s in Park Slope. It may be the case that ramps have come and gone now and you’ve missed your window, but if, like me, you stumble upon them at a farmer’s market this weekend, here’s an easy way to prepare them: cut off the bulbs at the bottom and sauté them in olive oil with a few pinches of red pepper flakes and a drop of salt. Don’t make the mistake I made and make the heat too high: you don’t want them to brown, just to cook through. Meanwhile, boil your spaghetti. Once the bulbs are translucent, add the ramp leaves which you can cut up just a bit. Add a drop of pasta cooking water to turn it into a sauce and when the spaghetti’s just al dente, add it to the cooked ramp mixture, stir it all together: no cheese! This is about subtle ramp flavor, yo. Once on the plate, you can top with toasted bread crumbs which I made by taking four pieces of white sandwich bread, cutting crusts off, chopping the white parts into tiny bits and sauteing those bits in olive oil until golden brown with a smidge of salt and pepper. The bread crumbs are actually the key ingredient here: they add texture and little explosions of flavor as you devour the first great taste of spring.

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